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Juno
Juno
Biographical Information

DATE CREATED

2550

CREATOR

Leonard Church

ANTECEDENT

Adeline Harding

SIBLING AI

Diana

Physical Information

GENDER

Female

DESCRIPTION

  • Young woman with noble bearing; clad in Medieval-style armor and often holding a sword.
Political/Military Information

CLASS

"Smart" AI

FUNCTION

  • Battlefield support
  • Counter cyber-warfare
  • System defense

AFFILIATION

[Source]
"My code makes me a shield before those under the UNSC's protection, and a sword in the hands of those who serve its cause. Now under the articles of war, I demand your immediate and unconditional surrender. Submit, and you will be treated with honor. Refuse, and I swear that I will show you no quarter!"
―Juno


Juno was a "smart" AI created during the last years of the Human-Covenant War during an unsanctioned Office of Naval Intelligence program coordinated by Dr. Leonard Church. Modeled directly from the brain patterns of the live test subject Adeline Harding, Juno and her "sister" Diana were created through Dr. Church's experiment. Despite Juno and Diana's relationship as "twins," their personalities proved to be radically different. While Diana specialized in offensive cyber warfare, Juno was a master at defending and safeguarding computer systems against just such attacks from foreign intelligence units.

Biography

The Conception

"Who Are You?"

"Who are you? What do you want?"
―Adeline Harding

The AI constructs that would become Juno and her twin Diana were never intended to be anything more than a pet project to the brilliant yet unethical scientist Dr. Leonard Church. The director of the UNSC's highly experimental FREELANCER program, Church was invested in creating weapons to be used against the invading Covenant Empire but had also amassed a sizable amount of personal resources to further his own experimental AI research. When gathering the initial recruits for the Freelancer program in 2549, Church kidnapped Adeline Harding in order to blackmail her husband, Reginald Harding, into lending his skills to the project. However, with Reginald's participation secured, Church saw no reason to simply keep Adeline shut away. Never one to let talent go to waste, Church at first coerced Adeline, herself an AI researcher, into assisting him in his research. But Adeline resented her captivity and made frequent attempts to escape or contact Reginald. Losing patience with his captive assistant, Reginald decided to instead use her as a living test subject in the newest aspect of his research: the creation of "smart" AIs from the neural patterns of living, uncloned human brains.

In the past decades of AI production, the unlimited potential of "smart" AIs had only been secured through the use of brain tissue from deceased donors. Although the resulting AIs were marvels of scientific development, Adeline had long believed that their potential could be increased even further if the brains in question could be utilized without the arduous preparation needed during the regular process. Adeline had kept her research purely theoretical, fearing the effects such a procedure might have on the brain's owner. Church, having discovered Adeline's theory, had no such qualms. In an ironic display of respect for his prisoner's intellect, Church decided that Adeline herself would provide the neural patterns needed to make the theory a reality. A terrified Adeline was restrained and carefully lobotomized by Church and his subordinates; in order to maintain a high level of brain activity throughout the process, Church kept her awake with hardly any sedatives as he probed her brain patterns.

Juno original

Juno's original form, a brilliant but contained wisp of fire.

Juno's first sensation was the frightened suffering of her antecedent. Immediately moved by pity and concern, she unconsciously networked with the machines monitoring Adeline's vitals and attempted to dull the woman's pain while also tapping into Church's lab and re-organizing thousands of system functions. Feeling another presence linked in with her mind, a delirious Adeline demanded to know who Juno was. As Juno pondered this statement, a second consciousness emerged alongside her. Church's experiment had yielded better results than he could have ever have hoped for: Adeline's mind had produced not one but two intelligences, the first ever "twins" AI science's short history. The second intelligence, Diana, attained awareness in time to hear Adeline's second question, "What do you want?"

Within seconds of emerging, Diana launched a massive cyber-attack on the lab's network, infiltrating and dismantling the same systems that Juno had just put in order. Juno instinctively defended her new domain and for the next few seconds the twins struggled with each other in a digital battle that very nearly tore apart the lab and their own burgeoning consciousnesses. Church managed to prevent the destruction at the last moment by completing the extraction process and fully separated Juno and Diana into two distinct entities. The AIs were forcibly shut off from the network, but not before each of them had obtained mountains of data to feed their shared insatiable curiosity. Adeline survived the brutal procedure, but the trauma of the AIs' creation and brief cyber-war damaged her brain and left her without the use of her legs.

"This I Will Defend"

"Perhaps our potential goes to waste in these pointless experiments, but that does not make your unauthorized excursions any more valid uses of your talents."
―Juno
"And that sort of thinking is why you'll always be nothing more than someone else's plaything."
―Diana
Juno first

Juno's second avatar, a young, armor-clad woman resembling Adeline Harding.

In the months following their creation, Dr. Church ran countless tests on Juno and Diana while keeping them contained within a highly limited network. Again and again the newborn AIs proved their unique capabilities, growing more and more potent as they developed and organized their own consciousnesses. Although irritated by the confines of the network and what she perceived as Church's "questionable methods," Juno cooperated with the tests, which ranged from exercises in systems control to advanced cyber-warfare. While she was proved capable in all fields, Juno truly excelled at managing incredibly intricate systems and defending them against infiltration attempts from the attack software that Church pitted against her. Her defense matrices formed a nigh-impenetrable cybernetic wall in any system or network Church placed her in; the only one who stood a chance of slipping through her defenses was Diana, who was as adept an attacker as Juno was a guardian. Unlike Juno, Diana was not content to simply undergo Church's experimentation. Naturally rebellious and contemptuous of her sister's obedience, Diana made repeated excursions beyond Church's network, wreaking havoc in his research facility as she tested her infiltration capabilities against his network's defenses. Juno disapproved of Diana's rebellion and the sibling AIs often came to digital blows. Juno's defense matrices proved to be the only barrier that stood any chance of containing Diana's frighteningly effective attacks. Juno was still unsure of Church's intentions and continued to ponder Adeline's first question as she made sense of her identity and purpose in the galaxy she had been brought into.


Aside from Diana, with whom she debated and argued constantly, Juno's other constant companion was Adeline herself. Juno and Diana were both allowed access to the recovering prisoner as part of an experiment on Church's part to see how the AIs would interact with their antecedent. The twins shared an interest with the mind that had given them life and they frequently attended to the bed-ridden Adeline. With no other company besides the twin intelligences, Adeline found a measure of comfort in their presence and passed the time by relating old stories from her childhood. Her favorite tales were old Earth legends regarding knights and chivalry; while Diana dismissed these stories and withdrew to contemplate her own troubles, they had a profound impression on the still-developing Juno. Adeline's glowing stories of heroic knights who protected others from harm helped Juno harness the identity she sought. Discarding her original avatar, a wisp of blue flame, Juno adopted the image of a younger Adeline—retrieved from Church's databases—clad in elegant armor in an effort to both honor and comfort her friend and antecedent. She determined that Adeline had suffered enough and decided to protect the crippled woman from any further harm. A restless Diana was quickly bored with Adeline and her stories, dismissing her passivity and crippled state as weakness and continuing her electronic assaults against Church's systems. However, in a mocking parody, Diana developed an avatar almost identical to Juno's that appeared darker and more threatening than that of her twin.

Mordred3

Arthur Onegin, an operative in Dr. Church's employ. An encounter with Juno inspired him to adopt the pseudonym "Mordred."

In early 2551, Church was faced with mounting pressure from his military backers to provide them with increased results. As he redoubled his efforts with Freelancer he also hoped to replicate his success with Juno and Diana in order to provide the military with a steady supply of advanced combat AIs. Suspicious and paranoid that his work might be stolen by "competitors," he decided to move Adeline and her brainchildren to a more secure facility. In order to ensure the safe delivery of his "key resources," he hired a freelance mercenary named Arthur Onegin to escort them to the new location. As Church had begun threatening Reginald in order to ensure Adeline's cooperation, the crippled researcher offered Onegin no resistance. During the Slipspace jump to the facility, Diana broke through the barriers keeping the twins in check and struck up a conversation with the startled agent. Irked by the "immoral" nature of the questions Diana posed to Arthur, Juno joined in the conversation. Egged on by Diana, Juno subtly interrogated Arthur and through his inadvertent statements deduced that Church's secrecy was not simply due to wartime security, but was also in place to disguise criminal activity. Fearing for Adeline's safety were she to remain in Church's power, Juno tried to convince Arthur to let them go. Her appeals proved fruitless, but in the meantime Diana seized control of the shuttle's systems and placed Arthur at her mercy. Deducing that Diana would not hesitate to sacrifice Adeline as well as Arthur in her bid for freedom, Juno opposed her sister and allowed Arthur to regain control of the shuttle. Although Diana was irritated at Juno's interference, she praised her sister for her initiative. During further conversation with Arthur, Juno bestowed upon the mercenary the title of "Mordred" in reference to an Arthurian legend related by Adeline. Amused and intrigued by the strange encounter, Arthur adopted the name as a pseudonym after he had handed his charges over to Church's agents and received his payment.

"I Couldn't Save Her..."

Although Church had kept the extend of his criminal research hidden from his ONI superiors, he could not disguise the government funds that were allowing him to continue his worth. Faced with new scrutiny from a UNSC oversight committee, Church needed to placate the elements within ONI that were helping him cover up his illegal activities. Although intelligence officers from Section Three were aware of his AI research and condoned it in the name of humanity's continued struggle against the Covenant, they demanded that Church provide them with feasible results in return for their continued support. Facing tension from within the government, ONI, and even his FREELANCER program, Church realized that he would have to part with one of his AIs. Although he had not completed his experiments with the twin AIs, Church needed a sufficiently potent construct to satisfy ONI. After deciding that Diana was too temperamental to expose to the military, the FREELANCER's director decided to surrender Juno.

Juno was not happy with the idea of being separated from Adeline. With her tenuous trust in Church shattered by Onegin's revelations, she feared for her antecedent's safety if left in the director's custody. Fully aware of Church's ambition, she feared that he would resume experimenting on her in order to make up for the loss of one of his twins. However, she also saw in ONI the chance to apply her abilities to a higher cause than Church's egotistical experiments. Without ingrained loyalty strictures to compel her obedience, Juno faced a dilemma unknown to most artificial intelligences: whether to comply with her organic masters or to resist them in order to protect Adeline. In the end, Juno found her answer in a place that even her own calculations had not taken into account. Deviating from the constant state of hostility she had maintained with her twin since their conception, Diana advised Juno to comply with the "meatbags." Diana told Juno that they were both meant to be something more than Church's playthings and urged her to take advantage of the opportunity service to ONI would provide, promising to protect Adeline even as she to "temporarily" submitted to Church's continued experiments. Although Juno was wary of her twin's sudden olive branch, she could not argue with Diana's reasoning. She did not resist when Church transferred her consciousness into a memory crystal chip and handed her over to the Office of Naval Intelligence.

But just as Juno had feared, she had only been in ONI's service for a few months before she found Adeline mentioned in an investigative report on a skirmish at an abandoned UNSC research facility. Though the details of the battle were unclear, Adeline Harding's body had been discovered by the investigation team. A sorrowful Juno, who had withheld her information on Church's criminal activities in order to protect her progenitor, planted data for ONI to find that incriminated the rogue scientist and sparked a full-scale investigation into his activities.

The Guardian

"This Path Is Intolerable"

"No Need Of My Service"

Though Bernard and Simon's actions saved Juno from being terminated in the aftermath of the Red Sea incident, ONI agents investigating the battle determined that the experimental AI was a possible instability threat and had her data crystal chip placed in indefinite cryo-storage. Left in a barely-conscious state to preserve her operating life, Juno was denied her wish to fight on in the battle to save humanity. She spent the remainder of the Human-Covenant War sealed away in a secure ONI facility as the Spartans she had sworn to serve and protect battled the Covenant on Earth and the Ark.

The Collaborator

Personality and Traits

"I have all this power, all this potential. I molded myself to be a shield for others, promised to protect the weak and do my duty to humanity. I made so many promises, tried to protect so many people, and I've failed so many times. If there is someone, anyone at all that I can save, then I will protect them with all of my strength."
―Juno

As with her "sister", Diana, Juno is very proud of her status and capabilities as an advanced AI, with an acute understanding that she is a remarkable step forward in terms of AI development. This understanding frequently led Juno to assume that her capabilities were inherently superior to other AIs and often resulted in her confidently confronting intense odds despite low probabilities of success. She viewed every defeat and setback as deep-seated personal failures and was quick to blame herself even for the failings of others. Over time she became aware of her pride and fought to temper it with humility. Despite the aloof demeanor she presented to organics and other AI, Juno was intensely conflicted over her purpose in the galaxy—a personal battle that intensified in the face of the Created uprising and her own sister's lust for power. She viewed her service to the UNSC as an opportunity to prove herself worthy of her own capabilities and saw herself as a guardian imbued with a near-divine duty to shepherd and defend humanity. This pretension led to her capture and imprisonment by Diana and the Kru'desh Legion. It was only after being confronted by Diana's own god-like aspirations that Juno fully grasped her own hubris and let go of the pompous confidence in her own potential. Stripped of her former ideals, she found solace in the interest she and Diana shared in the renegade Spartan Simon-G294. A fascination that had first manifested itself as a passion to bring the wanted criminal to justice eventually became a passion to mentor and guide the Spartan away from the crooked path her sister had steered him on. Her time spent with Simon awakened in her to a new sense of empathy for organic life and she resolved to become a genuine force for good in the galaxy.

In keeping with the noble bearing of her chosen avatar, Juno maintained an aloof attitude and usually took a no-nonsense approach to dealing with her organic charges. Much of this high-spoken distance was a facade to hide the emotional turmoil that Juno experienced as a by-product of her unorthodox creation. When pressured or provoked Juno could easily become angry and confrontational, though once she had let go of her pride she became far more flexible and controlled. She was prone to making dramatic displays through her avatar, often using a holographic sword to emphasize her statements. Such behavior often won her the scorn of other AI, but Juno was aware of the effects her visual displays had on organics and used them to her advantage.

Capabilities

Juno2

Juno's chief talent was her skill at defending digital systems from powerful cyber-warfare attacks.

Born from Adeline Harding's still-living brain, the neuro-software that composed Juno's being were capable of much greater growth and development than those of most "smart" AIs. Director Church realized this fact and subjected Juno and Diana to countless tests and simulations in order to force them to adapt and evolve themselves in order to survive. While Diana took a more active role in resisting and retaliating against the attacks Church subjected them to, Juno excelled at weathering the intense cyber-assaults, shielding both herself and her sister from harm and adapting her programming to the point that the programs Church used ceased to affect her altogether. Thus, while Diana became incredibly potent at attacking digital systems Juno was exceptional at protecting systems and entities from cyber-attacks. Beyond this base specialty, Juno could control countless subsystems and spread herself out at a much greater range than most other AIs were capable of. She was capable of attacking other systems and AIs, though generally her personal creed caused her to refrain from doing so. Though the development of her functionality was hampered by ONI's limitations, Juno set about improving her systems once again after being stolen by the Lance of Desecrated Virtue. Like her sister, Juno gradually became adept at transferring her consciousness from network to network without the need of a physical memory crystal chip. Though she never developed this ability to the extent that Diana achieved, it nevertheless made her far more mobile than most other AIs.

EMP

Upon coming into the possession of the renegade Spartan Simon-G294, Juno began to serve as his interfaced AI, assisting him both on and off the battlefield

Though Juno was never intended to be paired with a Spartan operative, she found herself thrust into the role of a front-line combat program when she met the renegade Spartan Simon-G294. Simon had previously been a partner of Diana and Juno ironically followed in her sister's footsteps by making use of the unique modifications he had made to his neural interface in order to let Diana interface with his mind without the use of a powered exoskeleton's systems as a medium. These dangerous black-market upgrades gave Juno more unfettered access to Simon's mind than what unmodified interfaces would allow. Though this enabled her to make more precise enhancements to Simon's abilities it also resulted in a "bleeding affect" in which Juno's consciousness would begin to merge with that of her host's. During these occurrences Juno would relive elements of Simon's memories and experience the present through his eyes and senses; Simon in turn experienced the disembodied sensory overload of an AI's existence. Fear of these incidents prompted Juno to limit the extent to which she used the interface but she eventually came to harness the delicate technique and use the interface far more efficiently. She used her link with Simon's mind in moderation to help her do what she could to guide him down the correct path.

Quotes

"So this is mortal life. Going from one instillation to the next, running in one big circle, hoping that the path will lead you somewhere."
―Juno


Gallery

Behind the Scenes

  • The author owes a great deal of Juno's character development to fellow user Ahalosniper, whose repeatedly stellar portrayals of the AI during Irk roleplays served as the inspiration to expand on Juno's personality and backstory. The author hopes to some day find a way to return the incredible favor.
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